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CASTLEFORD PEOPLE - RICHARD STOKER

 

Richard is a composer/ actor/ pianist/ writer/ painter / conductor.

photo by Lisa Wallis

 

"Richard Stoker is the apotheosis of a typical renaissance man" - Humphrey Carpenter, BBC Radio 3.

A chance meeting with Lord Attenborough at Elstree Studios fifty years ago led to Richard's dual role of film composer and actor. Filming King's latest feature brought Richard back to Elstree. Since Lord Attenborough took him over to meet Stanley Black, the MD of ABC Pictures, his duel career continued. Over sixty films later he is proud of his record as an actor and composer. He has appeared in The Da Vinci Code, Anamnesis, The Golden Age, Mrs Beaton, The Queen, the Golden Compass, Franklyn, Wolfman, and recently Sherlock Holmes.

Richard has also appeared on BBC2 in a series on happiness in which he was judged to be the happiest person present.

 

Richard Stoker, the world famous composer and poet, was born at Castleford on the 8th November 1938. His father came from Knottingley. He lived at Hill Road in Glass Houghton and as a boy made frequent trips to Pontefract. His favourite childhood place was Pontefract Castle and his favourite sport cricket.

He went to Bredalbane House School (now a home for the elderly) where he composed a hymn for the school.

Photograph of Richard outside Castleford Library

Picture of Richard Stoker (right) with a friend outside Castleford Library in 1954

From the age of seven Richard has written or composed over 300 works of poetry, lyrics, prose and music; many of which have been performed and broadcast world wide. His first broadcast by the BBC was when he was fifteen.

Richard studied at the RAM (Royal Academy of Music) with Lennox Berkeley and in Paris, as a Mendelssohn Scholar, with Nadia Boulanger.  From 1963 until 1987 he was Professor of Composition and a tutor at the Royal Academy of Music.

He was editor of the Composer magazine from 1969 until 1980.

Richard Stoker photograph

He helped the composer Mikis Theodorakis who had been imprisoned by the Greek military regime.

The American Biographical Institute's Board of Research had nominated Richard Stoker for their prestigious title, Man of the Year 1997, "due to his overall accomplishments and contributions to society." The Institute, founded in 1967, gives the award to persons who have "significantly enhanced world communities and professions." 

Words Without Music, selected poems by Richard Stoker was published in 1969 by the Golden Eagle Press.

The first volume of his autobiography uses a cinema verité technique. It is called Open Window - Open Door and was published in 1985 by Buckland Press Ltd. ISBN 0 7212 0699 9.
 

In 1993 his children's novel Tanglewood was published by Merlin Books.

Diva, a novel and collected short stories, was published in 1998 by Minerva. ISBN 1 8586 3750 3
   

Richard has had two books of poetry published: Words Without Music (1971) and Portrait of a Town (1974).

Here is one of Richard's poems. It is copyright and is reproduced with permission:

New York Vistas 

New York is more, much more than a city of dreams:
A helpful junkie in baggy grey flannel slacks, sweat shirt,
holed socks, newspaper filled down-at-heel sandals, says:
'Give me a dime, sir,' he shivers, I give him a dollar
'Take yer where yer going' man fur that! he says, wiping his
runny nose on his sleeve as he tries to keep out the cold.
His hand on my arm like a blind man guides me the few blocks from 
Times Square to 'Musical America': 'Have a good day, sir,' he says
leaving me with a faint hearted weary half salute as he trudges away
through cold February snow. Later I'm propelled by yellow cab
along a Gershwin Musical of colourful canopied entrances to the
litter on Broadway; descending, the architecture on 34th street
reminds me unexpectedly of Leeds/Yorkshire where in china tea and
coffee scented shopping arcades -- I played as a lad of seven.
Changing lifts near the top of Empire State I remember the 'huddled 
masses yearning to breath free'. Looking out over Manhattan my 'tired
poor' guide is now far, far below me. 'Does the Battery flagpole still
stand in its place as in 1797 two hundred or so years ago?' I wonder.
The city of dreams is now telescoped in time with more, much more, -- a
darker side -- a city-of-sorrow seen through a rich 'golden-door'.

Richard Stoker - copyright © 1997.

Richard Stoker is a Fellow and an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (FRAM and ARAM), and is an Associate of the Royal College of Music (ARCM). His recent commissions include a Chinese Canticle for Inter-Artes, a Piano Sonata (No.2) for the concert pianist Eric Parkin, and a Partita for mandolin and harp.

Richard belongs to the following organisations: PRS, MCPS, Composers' Guild, APC, RAM Guild (Committee), Atlantic Council (founder-member), Euro-Atlantic Group, United Nations Association.

Further information about Richard can be found in the web sites listed below and in the following publications:  Contemporary Composers, Debrett's People of Today, Grove, Grove Opera, International Who's Who, International Who's Who of Art, Men of Achievement, Oxford Dictionary of Music, Who's Who in the World, and Who's Who in Entertainment.
 

Richard's own web site

More information about Richard Stoker

Sheet Music by Richard Stoker

Brief Biography

List of compositions

ccpactor pages

As Morris Blake in Return to Ravenswood

Abrm publishing (search for "Richard Stoker")

PRCD 659 - The Piano Music of Richard Stoker

cover designed by Richard Stoker

available from Priory Music

record cover

 

 

 http://www.minerva-press.co.uk/ (publishers of 'Diva')

Richard's review of "Ancestral Voices"

 

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